Question: What did Christ mean when He said,
“For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matthew 26:52).
Answer: Prior to Christ’s arrest in the garden, He repeatedly told his disciples that He would be crucified and resurrected. Peter, along with many others, “thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear (i.e. be established).” (Luke 19:11). In Matthew 16:21-23, during Christ's teaching about his coming death and Resurrection, Christ rebuked Peter, saying,
"Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
Later, when they came to arrest Christ in the garden, Peter again tried to interfere by cutting off Malchus’ ear. (John 18:10). Christ immediately healed the ear. (Luke 22:50,51).
“Then said Jesus unto him (Peter). Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”
Practically speaking, any person who cuts off with their “sword of unbelief” the death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the complete payment for their sin, will be lost (perish) forever in a place called Hell. (Luke 16:19-24). Had it been possible for Peter to prevent Christ’s death on the Cross, which it was not possible, the redemption of mankind would not have occurred.
Christ said in John 14:6,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
No amount of good works, baptism, communion, church membership, or social prestige will ever merit a person eternal life. (Ephesians 2:8,9). Christ said,
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that BELIEVETH ON ME hath everlasting life.”- John 6:47